Getting Criminal Record Check



Clean Criminal Record Check Required

  • All teachers applying for ESL jobs in Korea should submit a Nationwide Criminal Record Check (CRC) with an authenticating Apostille Seal or a Korean Consulate verification stamp as an alternative to the Apostille Seal for Canadian teachers.
  • A Criminal Record Check (CRC) also referred to as a Criminal Background Check (CBC), is a document used to prove that you have not been convicted of a crime in the past. Korean Immigration requires that expatriates coming to work in South Korea have No Criminal Records. Those with criminal records of either felonies or misdemeanors are not eligible to teach English in South Korea. However traffic violations (such as speeding and parking citations) do generally not affect your criminal record for teaching in South Korea.
  • The CRC must have been issued within the last 180 days – CRC older than 6 months will not be accepted by Korean Immigration.
  • CRC is issued through third party providers are not acceptable with Korean Immigration. Meaning: you can NOT use a private company to obtain the criminal check; it MUST come directly from a police department or government office/bureau. Additionally, the checks that were ordered online & come as ‘print outs’ are NOT accepted by the Korean authorities.
  • Please find how to get Criminal Record Check and Apostille by country.

USA – Identity History Summary Check

  • The Identity History Summary Check issued by the FBI (previously known as a criminal record check) is required for the teachers from the United States.
  • Please NOTE that Korean Immigration does not accept the criminal record checks issued by individual states, only accepts the nationwide ones by the FBI or FBI-Approved Channelers.
  • There are 2 ways of getting the check. Please compare the options below in consideration of your Timeline, Costs and Service Convenience. Out of our confirmed experience, we recommend you to use one of Channelers for the fastest and surest result.
  • Getting the check through the FBI is a standard but Direct Request doesn’t mean speed or velocity at all. Notoriously it takes 10 to 12 weeks! It’s cheap but considering 6 month validity and job application process, you should be making a careful choice whether choosing the direct way. We recommend that you should use this method only when you have enough time in job/visa process.
  • When you mail your fingerprints to FBI CJIS Division, please make sure to include a Cover Letter explaining that you are applying to teach in South Korea and need the criminal record check for international use. The cover letter will allow the section chief that issues the criminal record check to pre-authenticate it with their signature and you can have it apostilled at the apostille authorities or the Department of State office.
  • FBI-approved Channeler is a private business that has contracted with the FBI to lighten the increasing burden of workload to expedite the delivery of Identity History Summary information on behalf of the applicants in line.
  • Currently getting a FBI check through a FBI-approved channeler is the quickest way.
  • Surprisingly it only takes about 2 to 3 days to get the results from the Channler that processes the FBI check applications electronically, but expect the additional fees that is worth investment.
  • Korea Immigration approves and accepts the results from the FBI-Approved Channelers without any issue because the result is totally identical to the one from the FBI.
  • After getting the check, please proceed to get an Apostille for International use.
  • Do NOT, for any reason what so ever, remove the staples and/or damage the apostille certificate. Korean Immigration will automatically reject any apostille authentication that looks like it’s been tampered with (detached, re-stapled, etc.).
  • There are 2 ways to secure the Apostille Authentication for an FBI check;
  • The U.S. Department of State Office of Authentications in Washington DC accepts requests via Mail or Walk-in Counter or Appointments.
  • Please NOTE that it would take almost 1 month to get it back from them via Mail request method. So DO NOT just mail your FBI criminal record check directly to the US Department of State if you don’t have enough time in job/visa process. You could opt to request the service via Walk-in Counter or Appointments but please firstly call the Office of Authentications to inquire about the delivery timeline.
  • As an FBI check is a federal document, the state level apostille is not available for an FBI check in most states. However we have established a special partnership to enable this. The Korean Immigration accepts an FBI check with State Level Apostille as a legal document. 
  • Please find the guidance on how to expedite getting an FBI check State Level Apostilled that is legally accepted by the Korean Immigration. Furthermore it only takes 3 business days.

Canada – Criminal Record Check

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  • Canadian teachers MUST secure National level FINGER-PRINT based checks from the RCMP. Name and DOB based checks or provincial level finger-print checks are NOT accepted by Korean Immigration.
  • It takes 5 to 10 days for the check to be processed by submitting electronic fingerprints to the RCMP.
  • To order your criminal record check, simply follow the instructions at Steps to obtain a certified Criminal Record on the RCMP website. It gives the instructions for applicants applying from Canada and also from overseas.
  • Submitting electronic fingerprints to the RCMP is not currently available outside of Canada. However, you can contact Accredited Fingerprint Companies within Canada who will digitize ink fingerprints taken overseas and submit them electronically to the RCMP on behalf of you. As the RCMP does not list the Accredited Fingerprint Companies anymore, please Google them to find a proper one to work with.
  • Please NOTE that All Canadians must have their original RCMP criminal check and diploma certificates verified by the Korean Consulate/Embassy with a Consulate Verification Stamp because Canada is not a signatory of the Apostille treaty. First have them notarized by a notary public then mail or take the notarized ones to your nearest Korean Consulate or Embassy for the Consulate Verification stamp.
  • Remember to make a request for 2 notarized criminal checks, you might need an additional copy when applying for your E-2 visa at the consulate. 
  • Please NOTE that multiple applying teachers told us that the Korean Consulate in Montreal and Toronto may not require them to notarize the criminal checks. Please contact your nearest Korean Consulate for more specific details.

South Africa – Police Clearance Certificate

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  • South African teachers are required to submit a Police Clearance Certificate with an Apostille certificate.
  • To order your Police Clearance Certificate, simply follow the instructions at Applying for a Police Clearance Certificate on the South African Police Service (SAPS) website. It gives instructions for applicants applying from South Africa and also from overseas.
  • You can expedite to receive a police clearance certificate in 7 to 10 days by including a contract with a cover letter explaining your urgency in job/visa process. Please contact us at if you need a sample contract for this purpose. 
  • Police Clearance Certificate is required to have an Apostille for international use.
  • Please NOTE that the Legalisation (Apostillization) Service only apostilles a Police Clearance Certificate that is less than 3 months old.
  • Legalisation Office/Section at Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) processes Police Clearance Certificates and they are situated in Pretoria. Therefore your location decides how to get an apostille as following;
  • When you submit the application package to the Criminal Record Centre of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Pretoria, please make sure to request the Police Clearance Certificate to be Signed and Stamped
  • After receiving the Police Clarence Certificate, please visit Legalisation Office/Section at Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in person to apostille your Police Clearance. You can get it back the same day!
  • Police Clearance Certificates Signed and Stamped by the SAPS’ Criminal Record Centre can be sent straight to the Legalisation Office/Section at DIRCO to get the Apostille Authentication.
  • Therefore when you send application package to SAPS’s Criminal Record Centre in Pretoria, please include a cover letter requesting the Police Clearance Certificate to be Signed and Stamped and DIRECTLY Sent to Legalisation Office/Section at DIRCO before it is returned to you.

UK -Basic Disclosure

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  • British teachers can apply online for what’s called a Basic Disclosure check via the Disclosure Scotland website. Please follow the instructions at Apply for Basic Disclosure guide page here.
  • The process takes about 14 days and costs 25 pounds.
  • You can apply online, if your current address is in the UK and if you have been living at this address for at least twelve months.
  • If you are living outside of the UK you will need to apply using a paper form.
  • Once you have a Basic Disclosure check, it needs to be Apostilled. 
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is the best option for getting an apostille in the UK and it is faster and cheaper than other apostille services. Please follow the instructions at Get your document legalised on the GOV.UK website.
  • It normally takes 2 working days to process the Apostille job using the standard service, plus courier or postage time. Applications during peak periods around Easter and summer can take up to 10 days.
  • Basic Disclosure Check by Disclosure Scotland or DBS Check by GOV.UK?
    • There are 2 different types of police checks issued to British citizens which are a Basic Disclosure Check by Disclosure Scotland and a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Check by GOV.UK.
    • We recommend a Basic Disclosure Check by Disclosure Scotland as it is more widely recognized by the Korean Immigration and quicker in delivery with free certification and open to all UK citizens.
    • GOV.UK (DBS) issues a DBS Check without signature or stamp and without the certifications, some solicitors might refuse to notarize it which is required for the following apostille process. 
    • Disclosure Scotland website redirects you to the GOV.UK (DBS) website if you state you’re English and live in England. However you can still access the Disclosure Scotland website and purchase a Basic Disclosure Check though.

Ireland – Police Check Certificate

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  • Criminal Record Checks in Ireland are usually referred to as Police Checks, Police Clearance Letters or Certificates of Character.
  • You can secure Police Check Certificates by contacting the Garda Police Station in your jurisdiction and requesting a Police Check Certificate of Character.
  • Once they have your details you should get a number you can call to track it and generally it take 2 to 3 weeks for it to be delivered.
  • Once you have a Police Check Certificate, it needs to be Apostilled for International Use.  The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the only office in Ireland that is able to authenticate documents. Please follow the instructions at Authenticating documents on the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Australia – National Police Check

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  • Australian teachers can request a National Police Check from Korea or anywhere else by contacting Australian Federal Police (AFP).
  • Once you have a National Police Check, it needs to be Apostilled for International Use. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is the office that Australian teachers must use for their Apostille authentications. Please follow the instructions for applicants applying from Australia and also from overseas at Legalising documents on the DFAT’s Smartraveller website.

New Zealand – Criminal Conviction History

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  • Criminal Record Check (Criminal Conviction History) issued by the Ministry of Justice is required for the teachers from the New Zealand. You need to have the check Apostilled for international use.
  • As it is an official/certified document issued by a government authority, it doesn’t need to be notarised before apostilled.
  • New Zealand teachers will need to download the proper form from the Ministry of Justice website and submit (via mail or email) a signed copy with an ink signature.
  • The Ministry of Justice says this process takes 20 working days, but they are often delayed & getting the apostille will add several more days. So the entire process could take almost 2 months!
  • If urgent, it’s best to work with a professional paid agency to expedite significantly to obtain the check.
  • We recommend CheckPlease. They can deliver the check in just 3 working days on reasonable fees. They will email you the electronic check in PDF format and you can get it printed out and use it for the apostille. If you want a paper version as well, you will receive your electronic result first, and then the printed copy some days (or weeks if you are overseas) later, as the Ministry of Justice will send it via standard post.
  • Please follow the detailed instructions for apostille at Apostille Certification on the Department of Internal Affairs website.
  • Getting an aspostile takes 7 – 10 days. If urgent, you could attach a cover letter explaining why it is urgent to make the delivery quicker.